Wednesday, August 9th, 2006 at 7:50 am  |  14 responses

SLAM #22

Skip To My Lou

Originally published in SLAM 22

The 6th Man: The first time I saw Rafer Alston, a.k.a. Skip to my Lou, was a couple of years ago at some summer basketball camp in Jersey. I’d heard stories of his exploits up at Rucker Park on 155th and Eighth. Guys he made fall down. Guys he made quit in disgust. Guys he made cry. I had no idea what he looked like—which was gonna be a problem, I realized, as I scanned the crowd of teenage ballers all mackin’ like they were something special.

Just then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw this kid. He was slowly moving through the crowd, lollipop in his mouth, dribbling. But it wasn’t the fact that he was able to keep his dribble while moving through a surging crowd that interested me-it was the way he was doing it. I got a little closer and noticed that he was crossing over. Back and forth. Forth and back. Never bending at the waist, never looking down, even as he moved side to side through the kids, talking to some of them. Crossing over. Around his back, back through his legs, reverse again.

It was Skip.

Since then, I’ve seen Rafer do some stuff you wouldn’t believe anyway, so I’m not gonna waste my words and your time. The kid’s special. But you’ll seen that soon enough, since he’s the new starting point guard at Fresno State. To see Rafer ball, really ball, is to be in the presence of a nonchalant greatness that hasn’t been seen in these parts since Bird or Magic. When we did the cover shoot—which took place at Madison Square Garden (thanks to Chris Weiller at the Knicks for making it happen)—I finally got to spend some time with Rafer. We didn’t even tell him in advance that he was the cover—he thought we were just doing a small feature on him—and he still spent some time trying to convince us that he really isn’t all that he was made out to be in the press.

He’s wrong.

By the way, please tell your friends to buy this magazine. My boss, who thinks I’m nuts for putting Rafer on the cover, has threatened to fire me if the issue bombs.

I only think he was kidding.


Tony Gervino

P.S. I just wanna clear up a couple of misconceptions that appeared in a Los Angeles Times article on SLAM (August 13, Section C, page 3). No, we are not “an NBA-worshiping magazine,” and had I only known that Scoop Jackson had “street credentials”, I woulda have asked to borrow them when mine were at the cleaners last week. On the other hand, I think it’s safe to say that “flawed but appealing” sums us up both as a magazine and a staff.

Issue 22 Rafer Alston

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  • adm

    This is one of the early issues that I never bought. I was turned off by what I think is a cheap publicity gimmick of Slam Magazine by headlining an unknown player as ‘The greatest pointguard in the world’ and the small caption ‘that you’ve never heard of’. But after seeing how Skip played in the And 1 Mix Tape, I became a fan of streetball… Thank God for Ebay!

  • Bruno

    this is the first issue of Slam I saw here in my country, but back then I didn’t know anything about Rafer Alston so the first issue I bought was the next one, I think Chris Webber was on the cover since there I’ve had almost every Slam … hey give me credit I’m from Peru

  • k9


  • John Wilding

    I bought this in Hornsea, too!

  • http://edubb4286@yahoo.com Eric

    yo i been looking all over for this issue where can cop?

  • Young Bo

    I remember this cover, so fresh. Then at the same time they were running a documentary on fresno state on like espn, watched rafer and buddies just actin stupid in hotel rooms, but then hes killin it on the court, then right after that the first mixtape. It was just a perfect storm really. But slam you always been on point in breakin talent, even when you get burned for overhypin that talent…you know the names ahaha i forgot the issue but you have a punks with a young and very fat zach randolph and a tall skinny jared jefferies, thats like my fav high school picture

  • fernando sanchez

    does anyone know if the winners for the nba live 10 contest have received their winning notice yet? sorry to be OFF subject but i need to know…..

  • http://slamonline.com niQ

    Man, I wish I had that copy.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    why is everyone saying that everything is ‘so fresh’? we’re not talking fruit & veges here?!

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    fernando sanchez Posted: Sep.19 at 1:39 pm
    does anyone know if the winners for the nba live 10 contest have received their winning notice yet? sorry to be OFF subject but i need to know…..
    The way i figure it, if you have’t been told your a winner…then you ain’t no winner?!?

  • http://www.bc-berkut.ru dbodrov

    I still have this one somewhere…

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I clicked on the Hoops Whisperer article and got sent here.

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